AIT releases TRA anniversary video, lauds ties with Taiwan



TAIPEI — The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) released a video at an event Thursday to mark the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), a key basis for the development of ties between Taiwan and the United States.

Christopher Marut, director of the AIT’s Taipei Office, praised the partnership between the two countries over the years at the event held in Taipei that was also attended by David Lee, chairman of Taiwan’s Coordination Council for North American Affairs, which handles ties with the U.S. in the absence of diplomatic relations.

The TRA has affirmed the development of bilateral ties, Marut said. In the weeks in the run-up to the 35th anniversary of the TRA, various events have demonstrated the strength of Taiwan U.S. relations, he added.

For example, the Fulbright East Asia Pacific Meeting was held in March in Taiwan for the first time and three U.S. deputy assistant secretaries also visited Taiwan at that time, he said. Last week, the two sides also concluded a new round of talks in Washington under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

People-to-people exchanges have also improved since Taiwan was admitted to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in November 2012. Travel by Taiwanese passport holders to the U.S. increased by 35 percent in the first year of Taiwan’s participation in the VWP, he said.

Lee for his part said that “the relationship with the U.S. is no doubt the most important one among all our foreign relations,” and he expressed hope that bilateral ties will continue to grow.

The video, about seven minutes long, features Marut and other American officials speaking about the TRA and the development of Taiwan-U.S. relations in various areas such as culture, security, humanitarian assistance and the economy.

“On this 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, ties between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan have never been stronger. I am confident that with the TRA as an anchor to that relationship, they will continue to grow and prosper well into the future,” Marut says in the video.

The video was also posted on AIT’s Facebook page and website after receiving its premiere at the event. AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

The TRA was enacted April 10, 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other relations between the U.S. and Taiwan after Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing earlier that year.

The law pledges to help ensure peace, security and stability in the Western Pacific and to promote the foreign policy of the U.S. It also requires the U.S. government “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”